Alan White, drummer for Yes and John Lennon, dies at 72

White had joined the band in 1972 and is also known for contributing to John Lennon’s Imagine.

Alan White of Yes

Image: Scott Dudelson / Getty

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Alan White, drummer for Yes and who lent his talents to John Lennon’s The Plastic Ono Band, has died at the age of 72.

Yesterday (26 May), White’s passing was announced by his family in a statement posted to Facebook. It was confirmed that the musician died from a “brief illness” in his Seattle home.

“Throughout his life and six-decade career, Alan was many things to many people: a certified rock star to fans around the world; band mate to a select few, and gentleman and friend to all who met him,” it said.

Earlier this week, it was announced that White would not be able to perform at Yes’ 50th anniversary tour for Close to the Edge due to health issues he had been experiencing since 2016. The band also posted to social media today (27 May) to express shock at the news.

“It is with deep sadness that YES announce Alan White, their much-loved drummer and friend of 50 years, has passed away, aged 72, after a short illness,” the tweet said.

A full statement from White’s family can be read below:

Alan White, our beloved husband, dad, and grandpa, passed away at the age of 72 at his Seattle-area home on May 26,…

Posted by Alan White on Thursday, May 26, 2022

Born in England in 1949, White began playing the drums at the age of 12 and joined a number of bands in the sixties prior to becoming a full-time member of Yes.

In 1969, he was famously recruited by John Lennon to play for The Plastic Ono Band which comprised members Yoko Ono, Eric Clapton, and Klaus Voormann.

He was known for contributing to Lennon’s Imagine album including the hit title track among other records.

White joined Yes after playing for the band on their Close to the Edge tour in 1972, replacing drummer Bill Bruford who joined fellow prog-rock pioneers King Crimson.

After Chris Squire’s passing in 2015, White stayed on as its longest-running member and most recently participated in Yes’ twenty-second studio album, The Quest. He also released his only solo album Ramshackled in 1976.

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